How To Securely Tie Down A Canopy To The Ground Using Internal Guy Lines

If you have ever been under a portable canopy on a windy day or during a storm, you probably know how important it is to properly secure one to the ground. Custom canopys can quickly become airborne if you don't stake them to the ground. However, traditional guy lines can be trip hazards, especially in areas with lots of foot traffic. That's why you should use a tie-down system that relies on internal guy lines that don't extend into traffic areas. Below is what you will need and how you can easily set-up this system:

What you will need

  • Canopy
  • Half-inch diameter polypropylene rope – a length of 100 feet will be sufficient.
  • 12-inch cable ties – shorter cable ties can be used, but you may have to chain them together to obtain enough length.
  • 12-inch plastic tent stakes – you will need one stake at each corner of the canopy. Choose three-sided stakes that have an open eyelet for attaching the rope.
  • Rubber mallet

How to put it all together

1.  Drive the tent stakes – at each corner of the canopy where the legs rest on the ground, use a rubber mallet to drive one tent stake into the ground at a 30 degree angle from vertical. Point the tips of the tent stakes away from the canopy at each corner as you are hammering, and continue driving until just the heads of the stakes and eyelets are visible. For safety, keep the heads of the stakes as close as possible to the canopy legs.

2. Prepare the rope for attachment  – form a non-slipping loop knot in one end of the rope; a figure eight loop knot is strong and easy to tie, but use any non-slipping knot with which you are familiar. Make the open area of the loop about 3 inches in diameter.

3. Fasten one end of the rope at one corner - hook the eyelet of any stake with the loop you created in step 2. Pull the free end of the rope up along the nearest leg of the canopy, and hold it in place.

4. Attach the rope to the canopy leg – while holding the rope against the canopy leg, fasten cable ties around both the rope and the leg. Place one cable tie every 12 inches, and pull the ends tight to hold the rope and leg together. Adjust the tautness of the rope to remove any slack, but don't pull too hard and risk uprooting or loosening the stake's hold on the soil.

5. Route and fasten the rope to the roof support – continue running the rope along the leg and then across the interior of the canopy roof in a diagonal fashion (corner-to-corner).  Make one or two wraps around the canopy's framework that supports the roof to "lock" the rope in-place. Use cable ties approximately every 12 inches or so to fasten the rope to the canopy's frame. Continue to keep the rope taut during routing, but be careful not to bend or damage the framework.

6. Run the rope down the leg – after crossing the interior of the roof, run the rope down the canopy leg opposite from where you started. Again, maintain a taut fit and attach the rope to the leg using cable ties every 12 inches.

7. Tie a sliding loop knot – once you have fastened the rope to the leg and the free end of the rope is near the tent stake, you will need to prepare a sliding loop knot that can be adjusted. The midshipman's hitch is a sturdy knot that can be tightened or loosened as needed, yet it holds fast when pulled taut.

8. Hook and attach the rope to the stake – after tying the loop, place it over the tent stake and lock it around the eyelet. Move the knot up or down the line to adjust the tautness of the rope; once you have everything secure and the line is taut, cut the end of the rope about six inches from the end of the knot you just made. Use a lighter or match to slightly melt the end of the rope so it won't unravel.

9. Repeat the process for the opposite diagonal – once you complete the initial corner-to-corner tie down and cut the rope, proceed to the next unfinished corner and return to step 2.

Once you finish installing your internal guy lines, you should have a securely tied-down canopy. If you notice any slipping or loosening of the ropes, just adjust the midshipman's hitch to regain tightness. Use a cable tie to hold the knot in-place, if necessary.